Table Top Racing
Micro vehicles, big time victories.
Table Top Racing takes us back to when we collected and played with Micro Machines and Hot Wheels. It's an iPhone and iPad title starring pint-sized cars racing around imaginative tracks, but the inclusion of weapons gives it a competitive vibe. No big surprise, since the developers at Playrise Edge co-created Sony's WipEout games. The result is a polished, fun and at times frustrating effort that's easily one of the most accessible racers on the App Store.
Instead of going with console controls, the studio took into account the limitations of touchscreens. That said, just about anyone can get the hang of this game, either tapping left/right arrows to turn in those directions, or physically tilting his or her device of choice.
As for weapons, no real surprises. You have heat-seeking rockets that come in handy for taking out the leader, bombs that provide much-needed breathing room, the reliable boost and an electromagnetic pulse that you'll either love or hate. How do you gain access to these items? Just drive right through boxes strategically placed throughout each track.
While on the subject of environments, Playrise did a wonderful job bringing familiar locations to life, such as a children's toy room, an instrument-covered workbench and BBQ. To that end, it's common to speed around BLT sandwiches, blow past letter blocks and navigate your way through a castle. You'll even spy scenery in the background that, while attention grabbing, is more of a distraction.
Beyond that, the initial $2.99 download comes with a satisfying mix of content, from cups to special challenges with a plethora of unique conditions, like winning races sans weapons, beating lap times or battling for first when everyone has electromagnetic pulses. Win, and you stand to earn coins that come in handy for upgrading a vehicle's speed, grip, acceleration and turbo. In addition, you're free to swap out tires and paint.
Speaking of rides, the collection of 10 includes slowpoke trucks and exotic cars, with adorable names to boot. The ice cream truck, for instance, is called Whippy Kai Yay!, while the sports car is known as the Veloceratti P1. Yes, like the dinosaur.
Enjoyable game overall, but we have some complaints. For starters, we can't get the online multiplayer to work, which may have more to do with the number of available players. More important, however, is the lack of track real estate. Vehicles have a tendency to bunch together, and before you know it, one EMP blast is all it takes to put you out of contention. Short cuts exist, but these are few and far between.
Therein lies the aggravation. WipEout and Mario Kart may have inspired it, but the game fails to achieve such excellence. On its own, though, Table Top Racing is a solid addition to the App Store, and a worthwhile purchase for players who grew up zipping toy cars around their homes.
What's Hot:Imaginative tracks based on common household locations, fun mix of vehicles, limited but satisfying customization, cups and special challenges to complete, almost non-existent load times, simple controls.
What's Not:Narrow tracks make it difficult to gain an advantage, vehicles bunch together, the EMP is evil, tough to locate multiplayer opponents.